So, So Close: Cal- Ohio State 9.15.12 Report Card

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 15: Brendan Bigelow #5 of the California Golden Bears completes an 81-yard touchown run in the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated California 35-28. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Other than the W, I think there was little more to ask for from our Bears. They came out prepared, disciplined, and played well enough that they were still in the game in the 4th quarter on the road against a good team. A good showing on national tv was an added plus, especially given Cal's tendency to faceplant before the largest possible audience. But ultimately it was a tough loss, and you folks had plenty to say about it.

There seemed to be three main themes that came out in your responses. #1, and I think we all agree, is that Bigelow is the man. #2 was that the Bears played much better than they had previously and #3 is that Tedford cost Cal the win. I have to say that I was a little surprised by the amount of Tedford bashing going on, but I can definitely understand the frustration you're feeling. We had a good amount of responses, but the comments this week were by far the longest so far this season. Say what you want about Cal fans, but you cannot question our passion.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out a report card and type some thoughts. You can check out all of the usual features of the report card including your comments after the jump. Also, a reminder to please leave a handle if you want your comments used. You can still vote without a handle, but if you don't have a handle your comments will not be included. GO BEARS!

Category Average Score Standard Deviation
Pass offense .738 .120
Rush offense .818 .125
Pass defense .517 .163
Rush defense .676 .208
Special teams .208 .205
Coaching .561 .285
Overall .704 .153
Win probability at USC 30.0% (+7.14%) .215

Berkelium97: If I didn't know any better, I would think we won the game. Those are some great scores!

Well, they're pretty good aside from special teams. Poor Vincenzo, he and the special teams unit earned several 0s (which is part of the reason we have such a large standard deviation).

Coaching earned middling ratings with a large standard deviation. Some gave high marks because the team (finally) looked like a well-prepared, disciplined group of guys who were ready to play at the first whistle. Others gave low marks due to the extremely frustrating decision to kick on 4th and 1.

Our win probability against the Trojans jumped up thanks to our solid effort. I actually expected win probabilities to be even higher after 7pm on Saturday, when a terrible-looking USC was upset by Stanford. It turns out the scores were pretty much the same before and after the game. The pre-USC game predictions were .297 and post-USC game predictions were .313. The difference was not even close to being statistically significant (p=.797). So even before the USC game, we were more optimistic than we were during the summer. (that's right, only at CGB will you find statistical analysis of trends/patterns in our sunshine pumping)

Now let's ride this momentum into the awards.

Awards

Editor's Choice Awards:

NONE. This is the third week in a row without an Editor's Choice Award. These trophies and medals are beginning to collect dust in my garage. Y'all aren't having enough fun with these report cards.

Per tradition, we have our usual trifecta of awards. First is Tedford's Sunshine Pumpers, which recognizes those who viewed the game through rose-colored glasses.

Tedford's Sunshine Pumpers:

Tedford's Sunshine Pumpers Total Score Percentage
1. mrjpark 5.55 79.29%
2. boomtho 5.50 78.57%
3. cjwethers 5.36 76.50%
4. slims 5.29 75.57%
5. Oaklandishbear 5.20 74.29%

Another set of five fresh faces this week: we have yet to see any repeat offenders among the Sunshine Pumpers. Hopefully we're all pumping the sunshine after next week's game.

Old Blues:

Old Blues Total Score Precentage
1. crazedfan 2.30 32.86%
2. JP Chestnut 2.80 40.00%
2. Nasty_Nate 2.80 40.00%
4. cruidzoid 2.90 41.43%
4. Bear Gold 2.90 41.43%

Once again we have five new faces among the Old Blues. Our defending champion and two-time king of the Old Blues, BALLZ, was nowhere to be found this week. This is our most positive set of Old Blues yet. The Oldest and Bluest score was much higher than any score we had seen previously among the Old Blues. This is some encouraging progress.

Finally we have The Voice of Reason, which goes to those whose grades were closest to the community average.

The Voice of Reason:

The Voice of Reason Deviation
1. Jacobs. 0.063
2. TruffleShuffle 0.067
3. mathghamhain 0.069
4. EECS_bear 0.082
5. rollonyoubears111 0.084

Our resident level-headed Cal fan, hardtobecalfan, was just outside the cutoff at 6th place. What is a mathghamhain, anyway?

Gameday Experience

sslaphancock: After the game I got texts from all my non-Cal-fan friends saying they just couldn't believe that Cal lost. What's funny is that I didn't feel the same way--it's like they got a window into why I'm eternally pessimistic.

4th down: Terrible officiating when TD was called back on the holding call.

JP Chestnut: So Jeff, you're at 4th and 1. The team is moving the ball well for the go ahead score. What do you do? You choose to go for the FG with your 0/2 kicker? You need to get lost Jeff, you really do. Tedford - leading the NCAA in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

prd74: I cannot remember a recent Cal football game where I was so excited that I could not sleep the night before. This was one valiant effort by a team that no one gave them a chance to even be in the game. Shutting up 100,000 fans was no easy task and the Bears did just that.

secret ASian man: Watched game at a "neutral site" bar in Manhattan with a law school friend who is a tOSU alum. Before they switched to ABS for the game, they somehow had CSN California on the TV complete with ads for the Earthquakes, Raiders, and a bunch of A's doing the Bernie. Felt good.

Whit96: A good showing against a highly-ranked team, in their stadium. I really think a lot of the early calls (ALL of which went against Cal unfairly), helped put us in that 20-7 hole. Cal did a good job fighting back, but when you leave 9 points on the field...

Googs: Cal needs to go for it and trust in making big plays. Their defense stopping the run kept them in the game. The offense kept converting on big plays. Their biggest weakness was their O-Line and really going for it on 4th and 1 would have made sense.

Mitchgobears: Going on 4th down and giving up field position? We don't go against Souther Utah but go against Ohio State? We need to score touchdowns, no field goal attempts since we can't make them.

Nasty_Nate: Tedford needs to be fired and until that comes to fruition I refuse to give a penny to Cal Athletics. How bout them apples Barbour?

1988goldenbear: The Horseshoe is pretty darn impressive, although the fans were not as loud (until our last possession) as I expected. But that was probably because they were as stunned as I was at what was happening on the field. tOSU fans were really friendly and I think they realized they were fortunate to pull out a win. Cal section was rocking and I was super excited to see the strong play. Could have been A LITTLE better, but I'm really proud of the effort.

Mallrat92204: Columbus was great! All of the friends were really friendly and welcomed us. After the game all they had were things like "Great game!" "you almost had us!" and "We'll see you next year!" Ohio Stadium is a great atmosphere with even the Cal section very into the game.

Oaklandishbear: Late arrival into Columbus Friday night, then early morning trip to airport to pick-up 1988goldenbear. Headed out @ 0900 to watch some Rugby, saw tOSU lose to Notre Dame (so at least the hosts weren't victorious in both events) then saw the first half of the Cal man-handling of Navy in the Championship Game. Marveled at the size of the Horseshoe from the outside. Walked up the Olentangy River to the CAA Tailgate. Got there too late to hear Chancellor Birgeneau's speech. Quick bite and then met sister-in-law @ Gate of the Shoe. Hiked up the steps into the stratosphere of Section 8C to be pleasantly surprised by our seats. Better view of the field than from the visitor's section @ $C. Amazed at the sea of scarlett throughout the stadium. Marveled at the size of the Horseshoe from the inside. Enjoyed the roller-coaster ride that was the game immensely. Prior to kick-off, I expected a close Cal win or a utter blow-out loss. Would have loved to have won, but love the effort of the Bears. Post-game dinner with the CGB crowd - THANKS, BUCKEYEBEAR!. Got to meet the ragnarok and paleodan families. Really great time! Post-dinner ice cream with the CGB crowd, too. That was an excellent recommendation. Headed back to hotel for drink @ the bar and watch StanfUrd beat U$C (DAMN IT!). Early morning wake-up for flight home. 30 fabulous hours in Columbus. A road trip I don't regret for a second. If only it could have been LEGEND-(wait for it)-ARY.

rollonyoubears111: The moment we parked and walked through the campus to the Horseshoe, the Ohio State fans were very cordial and hospitable. There were so many people in red giving us help. It felt kinda weird- the people in red part...helping us...it felt surreal, like the game itself when we led at two different points in the game. Yeah, real surreal.

Texpatriate: Pretty awesome gameday experience in Columbus. Mic Man veterans firing up the tailgate group, unexpectedly warm weather, a mostly welcome crowd in a historical environment. OSU's band was a class act. Oh, and since this was my first in-person game since Arizona 2010 I was reminded the catatonic feeling of a Cal loss emerging just when you think we can pull it off.

mathghamhain: Awesome! I went with my dad and it was a delight. Few fun things:
1. I could not believe how quiet the stadium was when tOSU had the ball on offense.
2. Members of the tOSU band came up to the Cal section on the top deck, and lined up to play a song. I for one was not pleased, we were down, it looked a bit of triumphalism (even thought it may not have been), but then, the very next play- Bigelow.TD.Priceless. Play us a song minstrels!
3. The tOSU fans were great, they thanked us for coming out said, we traveled well, asked where Cal was....


Pass Offense

coolingfan: Maynard played his best game, even considering the poor throw that ended the game, which was possibly the only flaw he had in the game.

OskiPower: Maynard played the game of his life, the last pass notwithstanding. Lots of bubble screens with decent success, but let's not kid ourselves: the running game set up the passing game. More pass protection is critical - Maynard was sacked far too much by a tOSU line that had been far less successful before us.

Big Fucking Old Blue: It took Maynard the whole game to finally show his true self on the last drive.

Willis Chong: Maynard looked much better. So he can pass, so long as the opposing pass rush isn't too good. O-line got beat quite a few times, but gave enough time for decent throws. I don't blame Maynard for that last INT. He shouldn't have been in that position in the first place.

1988goldenbear: Best game of Maynard's career IMO. Spread the ball around, good accurate short passes for the most part. One near pick-6 in the 1st half and one bad desperate pass at the end. Bad snaps all day long and he fielded them all. O-line got blown up and he took some long sacks. Solid day overall, I'd take that effort any day.

Run Offense

/shrug: Both backs need to focus more on cutting up field rather than bouncing outside. Other than that I was really pleased with the run game, especially with Bigelow.

bobgnote: Biggles! Biggles! Bust Bigelow, some more. Running Stephens on 3rd and 2, with the game on the line, against a load of NFL prospects isn't what I'd try. But since that happened, on 4th and one, for sure I'd run FB dive, given no field goals are evident.

Nor-Cal Scott: Obviously Bigelow's two runs were amazing, but Isi had 86 yds. on 21 carries. Maynard's final line: 10 for -46, with a long of 3yds. The sacks killed, but what happened the the running QB that was talked about so much last year.

Mr. Unit 2: I think Isi may need to give way to CJ and Brandon, if only by sharing more time. But,this looked like one of Tedford's better teams, certainly not their best.

puresilence: Bigelow! Holy smokes! Next year should be fun with him as a starter.

Pass Defense

Jacobs.: Here is a hint Pendergast: when putting pressure on the QB wins us the 3rd quarter, and having no pressure on the QB loses us the first half. Don't weasel out and play conservative. That 3 person runs trying to cover all your bases is just giving Miller eternity to find someone.

goldenboiler: great against the short pass, a little suspect on the deep ball, but except for the last play, the deep balls were just better offensive plays and not bad D.

Keenan Allen Crabbe People: So Syd'Quan at Tennessee, Darian Hagan at Minnesota, Marc Anthony at Colorado, and now Steve Williams at Ohio State. The away-game trials by fire continue.

Calfan: Hot and cold. Yeah, Miller threw for 5 TDs, but it felt like the pass D was a lot better this game despite that. Other than a few big, boneheaded plays. It was kind of a "break but don't bend" defense.

puhi: buckeye receivers with no defender within 15 yards: makes me want to vomit.

Joe Bandsmen: Our secondary needs help--serious help. While Miller was threading the needle to great receivers the reason we got torched was because there were some big issues with our defenders cheating up to the line or coming off their assignments to deny Miller---leaving guys wide open. They have to be more disciplined, and trusting of the guys up front. Also our pass rush was atrocious--we could get no where close to Miller that entire game, giving him all the time in the world to wait for his receivers to blow right past our secondary. We need to get pressure on the QB to have a hope of surviving conference play.

BTown85: Except for that blow on the last TD it was pretty good. The first TD pass was tight coverage; just a good throw and fate. The fake run TD...well, you gotta respect the QB's ability to run.....

Run Defense

trilljester: They kept Miller in check in the second half, and Hall didn't really get much on the ground which forced OSU to become somewhat one dimensional.
bigdruid: We made second half adjustments! Woo! I thought we were fairly solid all day long, with their one long scoring run coming by a great individual effort by Miller.
norcalnick: One Miller TD that was more about Miller being amazing, but otherwise the run defense was wonderful.
boomtho: Swarm, swarm, swarm. Mostly impressed with our run defense, especially the QB contain in the second half.
rileyslaststand: Defense: apart from a couple of lapses...did really well for 2.5 quarters. We also need Mccain to stop eating oranges pre-game

Special Teams

Willis Chong: KO coverage was much better this time. D'Amato kicked the ball into the endzone a lot. Too bad he hooked it left 3 times.

Keenan Allen Crabbe People: Please have Alex Morgan kick the field goals. Even if she went 0/3, I wouldn't be quite as upset.

Bear in Chicago: I have to remind myself that I will forget about this game by tomorrow but D'Amato will remember it for the rest of his life.

Ursus Aureus: The problem with our kicking was NOT utter incompetence. It was that semblance of competence on the 2nd FG (which was close). That really made the 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter a borderline call. It would have been a far more straight-forward decision if the kicker hadn't just boomed enough on the last FGA but just hooked it a little to the left. Pure unadulterated incompetence from D'Amato would have been better

bigdruid: I'm trying really hard not to turn my anger into obscenities. But:
1) I really really really wanted us to go for it on 4th and 1. Really. REALLY. God I can't believe we decided to kick it given how poorly we were kicking today and how well we were running the ball.
2) My god can we stop with the rugby punts?
So, 9 points left on the field from missed FGs, and a 20 yard rugby punt that gave them the ball in our territory and led to a TD == 16 points lost by special teams. Although ultimately it's due to our kickers shanking kicks, the blame is partially on the coaching staff for calling for a rugby punt/FG in the first place.

slims: Say what you want about the three missed FGs - D'Amato should've gotten a shot from the middle of the field and that's on the offensive playcalling. He was nails on the PATs and our kickoff and our coverage was good all day. They kept our return game in check though...

cjwethers: Kickoff coverage was better. Still not a huge fan of the rugby punt. Maybe it was because we were sending guys to try to block punts, but it seemed like Keenan never really got any space to operate and had to resort to a steady diet of fair catches, as well as the ill-advised decision to run backwards 15 yards and get tackled.

BandAlum: 3 missed field goals, a rugby punt, but lots of touchbacks

Coaching

crazedfan: Trotting out your kicker who has already missed two field goals at similar range, and BADLY, when you have a 4th & 1 in a tie game and all the momentum is swinging your way is unacceptable. This is when Cal lost the game.

mrjpark: This is the coaching I was looking for. A lot of people will complain about his decision to go for the field goal, but that was a good decision. We made all the right calls, we just made barely enough mistakes as a team to lose.

slaphancock: The big call was on 4th and 1. Controversial isn't quite the right word--that would suggest that somebody can mount an argument for why a field goal is the right decision. The kicker had missed two earlier, a field goal doesn't seal the game. Trying to get a 1st down has a higher reward AND less risk. Not really sure what Tedford was thinking there.

Jacobs.: So close to changing my mind about firing Tedford. However, playing the three cup game of Zach pretending to keep it for a run, but really handing it to Sofele cannot work when 19/20's Zach is not running it. If Tedford played the shell game for money, he'd have no house to sell! (Hmm...) Also, his mindset on 4th downs is... horrible! Your kicker is having a really bad day, your opponent has several minutes and two time outs... why are you kicking it? Why? Whyyyyyyy :(

Dan B.: In my opinion, the biggest play that changed the complexion of the game was Tedford's calling in the field goal unit to kick a field goal on 4th and 1 deep in Buckeye territory when the kicker has missed his last 2 field goals. Obviously, I could see the horrible shank from D'Amato a mile away and implored Tedford to reconsider and just go for it. Obviously, he didn't, and so the Buckeyes rode the momentum of the 3 missed field goals to the win. The game was ripe for the taking by Tedford going for a touchdown instead of a field goal when the kicker missed his last 2 attempts. He didn't, and that is the biggest reason for this loss.
I also question why Tedford did not put Bigelow in as the primary running back for the game. This decision must be the most obvious decision to make, but he did not. Bigelow had "BIG PLAY" written all over him, but Tedford refused to put him in in key situations. Bigelow single-handedly could have changed this game in Cal's favor, but Tedford didn't play him, and that is another reason for the loss.

BearEssentials: Coaching lost this game. Cal was the better team and had more chances to win. I've been watching Tedford games for years, he has the ability to recruit talented kids who are truly capable of winning. However, even though he normally gets his kids to show up for big games, his simplistic calls, lacking guts or creativity, have always lost games that Cal is completely capable of winning. Normally, those games are against USC, but today particularly stung because I think if you put any football fan with a decent head on his shoulders in Tedford's place today to Cal the shots, the outcome would have probably gone Cal's way. Disappointing. California deserves to move on. I have no doubt that they can attract a new talented coach to lead them to the Rose Bowl again. People want to play at Cal. We need a mature, inspiring, football-smart man to lead this kids to victory!

hateford: simply can no longer support any tedford decision. he's as cautious as an eecs major out on a date with a cheerleader.

yorzepol: I know Tedford will get flack for his decisions so I will say that I saw a confidence in this team that I did not think would be there. I will withhold further judgement until after the U$C game but I have the stirrings of belief that we can be a good to great team (in 2013.)

Overall Performance

dpassage: If you'd told me on Friday that we'd be in the game in the 4th quarter with a chance to win, I would have taken it. Team looked so much better in so many areas than the first 2 weeks. It's really too bad that the FG's and weird calls will overshadow an amazing performance in hostile territory, early in the morning.

sacman701: Utter frustration. Cal should have won this game by 10 points. Still, this was a decent overall performance in 9 am start against an eastern team. OSU is not up to usual OSU standards especially on defense and would get vaporized by SC or Oregon, but they're still probably as good or slightly better than UCLA or ASU. If Cal can play 90% of the way it played today for the rest of the season, we will end up 7-5 or 8-4. We won't beat SC or Oregon, but at worst we should split with UCLA and ASU and we can sweep the riffraff (Utah, Stanford, Wash, WSU, Ore St).

kidnebraska: The team looked much better in this game than in the previous two. Maynard is still Maynard. When he wasn't running for his life, he put most of his passes where they needed to go. That INT was all on him, though. And here we thought Pac-12 refs sucked! Wow those were some bad non-calls. Still, good to see only 3 penalties on us this game. I am less pessimistic about U$C next weekend, though still not at all optimistic.

cruidzoid: 3 missed field goals. BS call that took away a touchdown. BS officiating overall. Nice helmet to knee tackle. Blown coverage in the secondary to give away a TD. Bad OL blocking. A center that can't snap. and to top that all off, a QB that throws a pick with a minute left in the game.

crystallogrober: The overall performance was much better than expected. We should have one this game. The refs basically threw this game to them. They ignored obvious penalties on them, called absurd penalties on us (that holding call that brought back our touchdown?) and were absolutely blind when it came to the replay booth (their long completion where the ball hit the ground, and Anderson's incomplete catch which replay showed h obviously had his feet in bounds). If they make the correct calls there, which they could have, but chose not to, we may have very well won this game. We made it close anyway, but the refs made it even more difficult for us than it should have been. I'm very unhappy with our field goal kicking. Despite the refs throwing everything against us, we lost the game there. I'm happy with the offense, and optimistic that the defense might actually be not that bad.

frustrated: GO for it on 4th and 1. You are playing tOSU @ OSU. You don't kick. STOP playing not to lose. PLAY TO WIN. IT IS OK

hardtobecalfan: this was an encouraging loss, unless tOSU turns out to be really bad or something. when we limit our stupid penalties and the refs aren't screwing us over, we have a pretty good offense. the D still worries me that we are so up and down. but at least the team showed some backbone and wasn't stomped all over like i was fearing and the whole country was expecting.

EECS_bear: After two weeks of gloom and doom, this performance definitely has me back to sunshine pumping. Both offense and defense did enough to win. But in between bad reffing and making the occasional bad play (not to mention their superior athletes), tOSU won the game. Nothing to be ashamed of bears.

Oski Disciple: Finally some reason for optimism about the season but at the end of the day its another loss and a 1-2 start with some questions about the time still to be answered. We'll know what's what after the next two games but I can sure see us pulling off an upset or two the rest of the way. October 20 sounds like a good day for one.

minesweeper: Like others have said, I actually feel better about the prospects for this season after this loss than the win versus SUU. This is a flawed team, but with plenty of potential.

texashaterforlife: It gave me hope for the season. Still not convinced that the spread option playcalling is the way to go for Tedford's Bears. I would like to see an overhual of offense back to a powerrun playaction, currently what Stanford runs and is having success with.

npyoung35: I hate hate HATE the concept of a moral victory. No way the players and coaches should have walked out of the Horseshoes happy with the result. If I was in that locker room, I would be PISSED. And I would want to take my frustration out on Matt Barkley's adorable face. For me, next week defines the season. If Cal comes out fighting against the #13 (sidenote: Really? #13? You're the worst, voters.) team with the same aggressiveness that they went after the Buckeyes, I will feel pretty good about the prospects the rest of the fall. Go Bears!

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